22 SES 07 C, Academic Work and Professional Development
Parallel Paper Session
This presentation reports on a small-scale interview study of all eleven professors in one social sciences department in a university in England. The research seeks advice on how academic teaching staff can best develop their research activity whilst effectively fulfilling their teaching responsibilities. One objective of the research is to elaborate on what has often been referred to as the teaching-research nexus (Neumann 1994, Gerde el al. 2009, Grant and Wakelin 2009). The study considers how to strengthen the learning-research-teaching relationship as previously recommended in relation to the Bologna process (Geraldo et al 2010).
The aims of the research are to promote democratic discourse and stem the ‘emerging market and efficiency-oriented university discourse currently taking place’ (Krejsler 2006, 212). The research asks how to best enhance the two activities of teaching and researching in a role where time spent on one inevitably impinges on time spent on the other (Rowland 1996). Questioning all professors in one university department goes some way to addressing the ‘teaching-research nexus at the level of the institution (which) has largely been neglected in previous research and writing in the area’ (Halse et al. 2007: 230).
The research question asks how professors, during their academic careers, have been able to develop and maintain their research activity alongside their teaching. Recently, it has been noted that there has been ‘surprisingly little research on the role of professors’ (Macfarlane 2011, 57). By definition, becoming a professor is usually achieved through successful research activity. Advice from professors can be particularly interesting in that in Bourdieusian terms the potential power obtained from the capital associated with the university, places them in a strong position to comment on such understandings as the connection between teaching and research.
In considering the study’s findings, the theoretical framework of Bourdieu is used. The relevance of Bourdieu’s organising concepts (capital, field and habitus) is seen in how he uses these in the exploration of academic work in order to analyse relationships both within and between academic roles and activities. Obtaining academic reputation, status and authority drives the academy (Bourdieu 1998) and therefore having the appropriate form of capital (that which is highly regarded within the field) creates opportunities for academic success. The relationship between habitus and field is not seen as rational ‘but rather an unconscious following of the habitus’ (Deem and Lucas 2006, 118). This suggests that there may be a need to try and consciously develop a certain form of habitus in order to succeed within a field, which may be possible from understanding how the field works and how to accrue the most advantageous form of capital.
Bourdieu, P. 1988. Homo Academicus. Cambridge: Polity. Deem, R., and L. Lucas. 2006. Learning about research: exploring the learning and teaching/research relationship amongst educational practitioners studying in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education 11, no. 1: 1-18. Geraldo, J.L., C. Trevitt, S. Carter, and J. Fazey. 2010. Rethinking the research-teaching nexus in undergraduate education: Spanish laws pre- and post-Bologna. European Educational Research Journal 9, no. 1: 81-91. Gerda, J. et al. 2009. The relationship between academics’ conceptions of knowledge, research and teaching – a metaphor study. Teaching in Higher Education 14, no. 6: 673-686. Glaser, B., and A. Strauss. 1967. The discovery of grounded theory. New York: Aldwin. Grant, K., and S. Wakelin. 2009. Reconceptualising the concept of a nexus? A survey of 12 Scottish IS/IM academics’ perceptions of a nexus between teaching, research, scholarship and consultancy. Teaching in Higher Education 14, no. 2: 133-146. Halse, C., E. Deane, J. Hobson, and G. Jones. 2007. The research-teaching nexus: what do national teaching awards tell us? Studies in Higher Education 32, no. 6: 727-746. Krejsler, J. 2006. Discursive battles about the meaning of university: the case of Danish university reform and its academics. European Educational Research Journal 5, nos. 3&4: 210-220. Macfarlane, B. 2011. Professors as intellectual leaders: formation, identity and role. Studies in Higher Education 36, no.1: 57-73. Neumann, R. 1994. The teaching-research nexus: applying a framework to university students’ learning experiences. European Journal of Education 29, no. 3: 323-338. Rowland, S. 1996. Relationships between teaching and research. Teaching in Higher Education 1, no. 1: 7-20.
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